This week, the City of Denver has formed an Enforcement Team that has already handed out hundreds of warnings and a handful of citations. The Team, which is working 7 days a week, is proactively patrolling for Stay at Home violators. The main goal appears to be education and voluntary compliance, but the orders do carry provisions for penalties. Denver’s order introduced a municipal ordinance, violation of which would carry up to a $999 civil fine. Warnings carry no penalty. However, the order also references criminal penalties for violations. Under the Denver municipal code, general penalties are up to a $999 fine and/or 300 days in jail. So, conceivably, violations are jailable offenses. Citations just began being issued and Denver courts are not yet hearing citations at this time due to closures. Thus, what penalties will actually result remains to be seen.
It should be noted that the Denver ordinance is separate than the State-wide stay at home order. Violation of that order would be a misdemeanor and would carry up to a year in jail and/or a $1,000 fine. However, unlike Denver authorities, Governor Polis is not creating enforcement teams. He has now famously stated the “Grim Reaper” will enforce his order.
We hope everyone is staying home for the greater good rather than fear of civil and criminal penalties. However, if you have questions about enforcement, or have received a citation, please reach out to FGMC today.